The Halloween candy may still be on store shelves but right next to it are holiday cards, red and green lights and rows of artificial trees. That means it is time to start thinking about buying your holiday gifts. Every year I promise myself I’m going to start shopping early so that I’m not running around the mall frantically on December 24th buying last minute gifts for all of my friends and family. Every year, I’m running around like a maniac on December 24th doing just that. That also means that come January 1st, I’m either completely broke and eating Ramen for a month or am getting a massive credit card bill in the mail that I spend the next year paying back.
Not this year! This year I’m going to be Money Smart and make a holiday budget. I’ve already started and this year is shaping up to be better than ever. I found this awesome printable budget over at the Mary Organizes blog. All you have to do is download it, print it out and fill it in with the amounts you want. After that, it’s all just keeping track of the Benjamin’s. Or in my case, the Jackson’s.
There is a spot for Food. I’m not at the point in life where I’m hosting the holiday meal yet but I’ll often be invited over to a friend or family members house to celebrate. That usually involves making something to bring with me or, to be more realistic, buying whatever is left at the grocery store. That is money that should be budgeted so I know exactly how much I have to spend during that last minute grocery store run.
This form even has a spot for clothes. I almost always buy a new outfit for holiday parties or photo ops. Gotta look good in those Instagram pics, am I right? Now I can plan how much to spend on my outfit so that I don’t blow all of my money on clothes, with nothing left over for actual presents.
It’s a simple budget to use and a good way to get into budgeting in general by focusing on just one particular event. Maybe you’ll save so much money using this budget that you’ll want to budget more long term after the new year.
Have you ever used a budget like this before? If so, what has or hasn’t worked for you? If not, why not and how do you plan your spending for the holidays? Let me know in the comments.